Anyone fortunate enough to have seen Heather Rendall give her talk on Owain Glyndwr in December will know how knowledgeable and enthusiastic she is about our local history. She has been carrying out a lot of research work relating to Abberley, and in particular has been deciphering a court roll dating back to 1483. She has kindly written this blog for us:
Abberley Court Roll 8th October 1483
On the 8th October 2014, exactly 531 years after it was written down in the first year of the reign of Richard 3rd, a court roll, detailing the comings and goings of the parish of Abberley, was photographed at The Hive in Worcester, so that it could be studied digitally on the computer screen and then transcribed for the Abberley Group. The clerk, whose quill covered the parchment all that time ago, could never have imagined in his wildest dreams just what use his record would be put to by future generations!
Written in medieval Latin – and abbreviated Latin into the bargain – it needs the skill of an expert palaeographer to read and translate the text. Here is an example from the first line of the Abbotsley (Abberley) paragraph (see above – starting by the 7 ):
“Villat ibm ps de chimag ibm vs6d et qd Humfrid Salewey q det sect fac defalt io ipe in mia”
Which is medieval TextSpeak for :-
“ Villata ibidem presentat de chiminagium ibidem 5/6 et quod Humfridus Salewey qui debit sectam facit defaltam ideo ipse in misericordia”
You can see just how much time and space was saved by the abbreviations – parchment was expensive; to save a few inches per record was worthwhile!
And the meaning? “The village presents a road toll of 5/6 and that Humphrey Salewey who owes suit, has defaulted and so is at mercy .”
Which roughly means that the Lord of the Manor i.e. the then Earl of Warwick, has been paid 5/6 by the villagers for the use of his roads! And that Humphrey Salwey – a surname associated with Stanford – who ought to appear at the Court to offer ‘suit’ i.e. homage to the Lord of the Manor, has not appeared and so is liable to be fined if he continues not to appear.
The rest of the transcript is available to be read here. It is full of names of lanes which are to be mended/repaired and the people who should carry out the work. It details the reversion of tenancies to sons following the future decease (or departure) of parents. It records the death of tenants and the subsequent re-alloting of the messuage (dwelling) and its land.
It is hoped that people who know Abberley well, will recognise names of people, places and roads/lanes and let us know any connections they might suspect. The most obvious is clearly Crundale, nowadays Crundle End. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Place Names, Crundale originally indicated a hollow or a chalk pit. Chalk is not exactly known around here – perhaps a stone quarry was meant?
Please do read the transcript even though its English might not mean much, its names might. If they do – place names are frequently downgraded to field names – please contact a member of the Medieval Abberley Revealed team or use the contact us link on this website. Every suggestion is valuable.
With thanks to Kevin Down, palaeographer and Heather Rendall, transcriber.